Commemorations, Memorials, Bikes (both with and without engines) and Remembrance

Posted on 30th June 2015 by Julie and David Thomson in General News.

Commemorations, Memorials, Bikes (both with and without engines) and Remembrance

This month has been busy here at no.fifty6. The weather has improved and we now have long, warm summer days. This month we report on Lochnagar crater, the upcoming Tour De France, Motorcyclists at No.fifty6, N P Hitchcock remembered and of course a little something on our chickens.

As you read this the 1st July 2015 Somme commemorations will be underway with official ceremonies at Lochnagar, Contalmaison, Beaumont Hamel, the Ulster Tower, The Glory Hole and Albert. Lochnagar ceremony begins as 07.28am and after the main ceremony this year there will be 2 special dedications to new memorials. Firstly the RAF Mountain Rescue Association have lifted a stone from Lochnagar Mountain in Scotland and have delivered it to the crater as a unique memorial. The RAF Association stayed with us when the stone was installed on site earlier in June ready for the 1st July dedication. Then a unique handmade 8-seater semi circular bench has been crafted by long-term friend of Lochnagar Vinnie Felstead who has a special talent. The bench will be the first memorial anywhere on the Western Front to commemorate the nurses who gave so much in the First World War. The bench will give lovely views across from Lochnagar to Becourt Wood and Albert and will allow a place for quiet reflection for those who visit Lochnagar.  The road widening at Lochnagar has now been completed, with a turning place for coaches making life a little easier for the continual flow of coaches which visit this special place on the Somme.

 Brian, Paul, Has and Alister from the RAF Mountain Rescue Association at the installation of the Lochnagar Memorial Stone.

Finally on Lochnagar – we understand there will be a special feature on Lochnagar on the UK’s BBC1 One Show on 1st July at 7pm. Richard Dunning  was filmed for the One Show at the crater earlier this month.

Tour De France 

On Wednesday 8th July 2015 the Tour de France passes through the Somme. So look out for the TV and press coverage as the peloton whizzes past such landmarks as Pozieres, Thiepval, and Albert Basilica. The stage begins in Arras and ends in Amiens.

 Thiepval Restoration

 Thiepval memorial is undergoing renovation. Scaffolding surrounds the monument and at the moment access to the monument is restricted. The link below to the CWGC site gives further details.

 In Remembrance

Earlier in June, Alan and Pat Hitchcock visited from Edinburgh. They had never been to The Somme before and Alan was on a pilgrimage to visit his Grandfather’s grave at Ovillers Cemetery. Nathan Parrot Hitchcock was a rifleman and died in the attack on Ovillers on 1st July 1916. It was an emotional time for Alan to see where his grandfather fought and fell and his final resting place in Ovillers, which is now so peaceful. Alan bought with him Nathan’s medals and death plaque.  We are always honoured when guests share their family stories. Rest in peace Nathan.

Motorcycles on The Somme

Earlier in June we were delighted to have 10 members of the Derby Branch of the Triumph Owners’ Motorcycle Club to stay. 7 Triumphs, a Ducati Monster and BMW adorned our courtyard and the club made the most of the gorgeous weather with some great rides out including to Ypres, Amiens and the Somme coast at St Valery. One club member, Les, celebrated his birthday with us with a barbeque and cake! We would not reveal his age (we are vey discreet) but he has been riding motorbikes for about 60 years…We would like to thank the Derby club for their good humour and respect for the area.

Derby TOMCC at MametzDerby TOMCC member Les on his birthday.

Chicken Postscript

 The girls are doing very well. Laying delicious eggs ad loving the company of our guests. Joan is definitely the chicken with the most character. Here is Joan, with guest Colleen going through David’s latest delivery of military books. Joan wanted to check them off to make sure David had not sneaked in any recipe books for Coq au vin or Chicken Fricassee! 

Comments (5)

Len Chaganis says:

Hi sorry to hear about our dear friend Les Disbrey very sad news indeed. Dave I would like you to be I contact with my father in law Richard Leake as he feels you my be able to help with some aspects of the forthcoming anerversary of 2/Lt. D Bell VC do you mind if he rings you to discuss some of the itinery and possibliities. Best wishes to you both see you soon all the best Len Chaganis

Steve Rawson says:

Thanks for another fantastic stay and the guided tours. Your hospitality, cuisine and enthusiasm for the area are nulli secundus.

Howard Rushton says:

Thanks for another very interesting newsletter. Hope you are both well. Confirm that copy of St Helens Pals put in post on Friday, 3rd July. Please enjoy. Best regards. Howard.

Andrew Rawson says:

I had a great week long visit in June while researching my next book on the Somme. As always David and Julie were excellent hosts and I was right at home in the caravan; it reminded me of my 'camping days. while working on England's motorways.

Mike and Kathy, Bath, UK says:

Having recently returned from our third visit to 'fifty6' (our best yet), we were fortunate to be present when Alan and Pat Hitchcock from Edinburgh were guests.
Alan's grandfather's death plaque was of particular interest with David giving a full explanation of its design, we learnt so much.
I am sure Alan's life is much the richer for his pilgrimage.
Kathy, my father (Frank) and myself return in September and are much looking forward to seeing Vinnie Felstead's creation at Lochnagar. A unique memorial.
On a lighter note: We love Joan!
Another lovely newsletter.

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